Thursday, August 14, 2014

I listened to the professionals and look what happened

Sometimes you can listen to movie reviewers because they say things that are useful, perhaps even indicative of skill at evaluating movies.

Sometimes you cannot.

In particular the reviews of the movie Hercules said that The Rock said a lot of things and bashed a lot of things and if that was all you wanted in a movie then Hercules was a fun, good romp.  I like The Rock saying things and bashing things.  I like silly action movie romps.  Unfortunately Hercules was absurdly badly written to the point that no amount of hilarious, over the top violence could salvage it.

Villains that show up in the last ten minutes of the film to monologue the entire plot and then are killed in a scene that is supposed to be somehow satisfying?  Check.

Dialogue that would be wooden and stilted coming from an angsty teenage writer?  Check.

Scenes that made absolutely no sense, failed to forward the plot in any way, and completely blew immersion out of the water?  Check.

Thing is, Hercules almost had a great thing going.  There was a constant theme of questioning whether or not Hercules was really a magical son of a god or just a mighty warrior with a bunch of absurd stories told about him.  The bard with Hercules was clearly embellishing his exploits and yet he was obviously capable of superhuman feats.  The scene after the main movie ended was wonderfully done and revealed some of the mystery, capping off the theme in a very satisfying way.

Unfortunately nothing else about the movie was good, aside from the actors and actresses being fantastic eye candy.  However, there is a way you can watch the movie and salvage it but it requires quite a narrative stretch.  Instead of watching the movie and thinking "This is happening" you need to watch the movie and think "This is the story of what happened being told in a ridiculous way by a storyteller years after it happened"  That makes everything work!  The plot is contrived, the villains over the top, the lines ridiculous, but that is the way a story is often told when it is being retold orally far after the fact.

So there you have it.  The only way Hercules is good is if you pretend that it is a bad retelling of a good story and appreciate how clever they are to retell a good story that you didn't get to see in an awful way.  Then you can be stunned at how pervasive the "It is real?" theme was and what genius it took to write the movie this way.

Or you could just assume it is a crappy action movie that will rapidly fade to obscurity and watch something good instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment